I remember being a kid in freshman year of high school in 2007. Not particularly fond of school, I couldn't wait to get home to play video games with my friends. I would spend a great deal of time on the family computer, playing whatever online game we were playing at the time. I remember getting home from school and turning on that great machine called a computer, and hopping on with my friends to save the world. I loved the days when I had a great internet connection; on bad days, however, it left me with shitty signal and lots of lag time, which is nerd speak for a slow connection.
Nowadays, download speeds for most things are near instant, with anything lasting over a few minutes comparable to medieval torture strategies. Maybe that's a bit of an exaggeration, but you get my point. Movies, games, web pages, or anything digital is expected to have fast speeds. Things are supposed to download at turbo speed and perform at optimized levels. Would it be any surprise that we've come to expect that in other areas of our lives, especially health & fitness related goals?
Addicted to Results
In the fitness industry, results are expected fast. People want 30 day abs or 30 day shreds; they want programs and training and supplements that will turn them around, that will provide results within days. It's what many of us have come to expect.
We are bombarded with movies and TV shows that have men and women with great genetics, years of training, and all the money that Hollywood can buy, and we assume that we can achieve the same look; and maybe if we look the same, our lives will be just as awesome as theirs. The fitness industry doesn't help, with many people selling a product that promises to deliver those same Hollywood results (I'm not saying the fitness industry is bad - it's done so much good for the health of people. But scams do exist).
Usually I see two different groups of people:
Group 1 consists of people that go hardcore with their workouts and diet, thinking that they have to do the extremes to achieve their goals. Maybe it works, but many times it backfires and they burnout. They tried training and living almost like professional athletes, but professional athletes don't have other full time commitments besides training.
Group 2 involves people who see what group 1 does, and becomes afraid. I mean, who wouldn't? They think, "If I have to train for 2 hours a day, 6 days a week and eat nothing but plain chicken and broccoli, I'd rather stay unhealthy!" And I wouldn't blame them. I would feel the same way; fortunately though, the reality is much different.
One Step At a Time
The reality is that you don't reach your goals by making drastic changes that are completely different from what you've been doing. The idea that the "more work you do in a faster amount of time" has good intentions, but it doesn't work when it comes to making lasting lifestyle changes. This is not an Amazon factory, it's the human body. Your body deserves respect, so give it what its owed.
I want to add a quote in here by Martin Luther King Jr:
You don't have to see the whole staircase, just the first step.
Instead of trying to take on the routine of the hottest insta-model, focus on what YOU could better, right now. Focus on the first steps of that staircase - that 1% increase that you can do everyday - that you can do no matter how you feel or how busy you are.
Below are some ideas:
Want to have better nutrition? Try doing something small like adding in one serving of veggies at every meal, or switch out that bag of chips for a crunchy apple.
Instead of trying to train like Arnold Schwarzenegger in his glory days, try to do a quick 20-30 minute full-body workout 2-3 times a week, just for starters.
Try waking up a bit earlier to go on a brisk walk everyday for 30 minutes, or go on your lunch break if you have time.
If you have trouble getting quality sleep, try going to bed 15 minutes earlier.
Do a quick 5 minute stretching routine as soon as you wake up, and maybe before bed.
You could also use this same strategy with anything you're trying to get better at.
Do you want to read more, but don't have time? Try reading just 30 minutes a day. Trying to learn a new skill, like drawing or playing an instrument? Focus on practicing that skill a few times a week for 20-30 minutes.
The point is, small investments done on a regular basis add up over time. For example, let's say you only workout twice a week. That may not seem like a huge amount, but that's still 104 workouts a year. That's 104 practice sessions, 104 opportunities to become stronger and fitter.
Lasting change takes time; the path to a better you is miles long, but it can only be walked one step at a time.
Don't sprint the race of becoming better. Settle in for the long haul. While it may take time, you'll build a house so strong that it can't be torn down.